Summary: Salvation and Works are important in living a productive Christian life.

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Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches

September 21, 2003

“Thankfulness Should Move Us to Action”

Ephesians 2:8-10

INTRODUCTION: If you were found lying along the side of the road dead, WHY would you go to heaven?

You have probably heard people say about someone, “I know he will get to heaven because he was a “good person.” He helped his neighbor, always paid his bills, was good to his family, never was in trouble with the law, was a church member...

Someone once told me, “I think I’ll make it to heaven because I have put more good things into the scale than bad things and they should tip the scales on the side of going to heaven. Others say, “I’ve lived a good life--better than a lot of Christians so I think I will make it.”

All of these good traits are admirable, but what does the scripture say about getting to heaven? So then, “If you were found lying along the side of the road, dead, WHY would you go to heaven?”

Paul is talking to the Ephesians in chapter two and saying, “You were once dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live. You didn’t know any better. You used to live the way the world lived. That’s the way all of us lived and didn’t give it a second thought, but then something happened. God stepped in and offered us something better.” Let’s see what we can get out of today’s scripture concerning God’s purpose for our lives.

1. Salvation Not of Works: Paul states that becoming a Christian is not of our own doing even though we may try to win God’s favor and impress Him with our goodness and our good works. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...” We are all in the same predicament. We could try our hardest to live up to a set of rules, try to be the best person possible and still fall short of doing enough. We might be able to do ENOUGH of some things and not ENOUGH of other things. And how do we know when we’ve done ENOUGH? That’s the difference between religion and Christianity. In religion we are always trying to do ENOUGH to win God’s favor.

Paul said, “You are not able to do that. You can never be good enough, or do enough. And because of our inability to achieve our own salvation, Paul points the way to God’s plan. He says, “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves--it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”

What does the GRACE of God mean?

Grace is the unmerited or undeserved favor of God.

It means that God DOES give us what we DON’T deserve.

Most of us have a difficult time comprehending this idea because the world thinks differently. We probably do too.

Story: A little boy was late coming home from school every night. He was always late for supper and finally his parents said, “if you don’t get here on time this afternoon, you won’t get any supper.”

That day he got home later than ever. At supper he looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water and nothing else. He knew this was the consequences he deserved. It was his own fault. He looked at his father’s full plate--roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy.

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